Meal Plan

The flexible way to eat well

  • food with friends
  • a simple way to keep an eye on your budget
  • a huge range of places to eat

How does Meal Plan work?

Meal Plan is a flexible, cashless system to make eating well easier.

You’ll have a weekly budget added to your ID card, which you can spend at over 30 different places to eat and drink across the whole campus. Instead of spending time shopping and cooking, you can focus on studying and relaxing with friends – and still enjoy great food.

Some University accommodation comes with Meal Plan built in, which means payments are automatically included in your accommodation costs. But even if you’re in self-catered accommodation, you can still choose to add Meal Plan.

Where can I use Meal Plan?

You’ll find Meal Plan outlets all across campus, near your accommodation and wherever you’re studying.

The choice is yours: Tex Mex at JC’s, burgers at Brook’s, noodle soup at Wok Fresh or a deli salad from University Centre. Options range from hearty home-style hot dishes to light, fresh options. You can even choose takeaway pizza, or coffee and a cake from Starbucks or Costa.

Michael

Psychology student

“University accommodation is ideal because it offers you a place to study, eat, sleep and socialise in safe, informal surroundings. A place where you can be at the heart of student life, but find your own space when you need it”

Does Meal Plan cover every meal?

Not exactly – and here’s why.

We know you need a flexible set of options to fit round your busy life. You might prefer to have breakfast at your place. Sometimes you might want to cook your favourite meal from home. At the weekend, you may want to get off campus and explore the city.

Meal Plan’s budget aims to give you two good meals a day, for any five days a week. At Infusion, you can use your Meal Plan balance to pick up a loaf of bread, or milk and breakfast cereal, for breakfast all week. You’ll have the same kitchen facilities as in self-catered accommodation, so you can cook for yourself whenever you like. And at the weekend, you can use Meal Plan at all the usual places at the Vale – or head out to enjoy some of Birmingham’s great dining options.

I have dietary requirements. Can I use Meal Plan?

The University caters for a wide range of diets, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and halal.

If you have a specific dietary requirement, let a catering manager at Infusion know when you arrive; they’ll make sure you get all the information you need.

Unfortunately, at this time the University cannot cater for high-allergen diets such as nut free. All food is prepared in kitchens where these allergens are in use, and we cannot guarantee food is free from nuts.

 

New students 2019-2020

What is my weekly budget?

You’ll have £52.50 to spend each week.

You’ll also get a Meal Plan-only discount of 10% off all food and drink.* That means when you’re dining on campus with friends, you’re better off on Meal Plan.

*Does not include alcohol.

How do I check my balance?

You can keep on top of your budget using the UoBCashless app. This allows you to check your balance anytime, anywhere.

When can I use Meal Plan?

You can start using Meal Plan on the first Monday of Welcome Week. That’s after Moving-In Weekend, so be sure to have cash or a bank card to cover your first few days.

Meal Plan payments cover 32 weeks of your 42-week accommodation contract, and your weekly budget will be added to your card over those 32 weeks. Outside term time, catering offers a reduced service, but all the outlets that are open will continue to take Meal Plan, and you can keep using your budget. That means if you’re staying here during the vacations, you can use Meal Plan across the whole 42 weeks of your contract.

What if I don’t spend all of my weekly budget?

Any money you haven’t spent will roll over to the next week. That means if you eat out or cook for yourself a lot one week, you won’t miss out. Just make sure you spend all your Meal Plan balance before the end of the 42nd week of your accommodation contract, as this won’t be refunded.

Current students

What is my weekly budget?

You’ll have £55 to spend each week. This includes a free top-up of £5 from the University.

How do I check my balance?

Your current Meal Plan balance can be accessed at any till. Just present your University ID card to the card reader: your remaining balance will be displayed on the customer information screen, or you can ask the till operator.

When can I use Meal Plan?

Meal Plan is designed to be used for the 32-week period of your accommodation contract, during term time.

2018/19

  • 24 September 2018 to 14th December 2018 (12 weeks)
  • 14th January 2019 to 29th March 2019 (11 weeks)
  • 29th April 2019 to 28th June 2019 (9 weeks)

All meals must be taken during the applicable termly periods, as indicated above. No transfer to other mealtimes, venues or dates will be permitted.

What if I don’t spend all of my weekly budget?

If all or part of the weekly allowance is not spent by the end of each week this cannot be carried over as credit to the following week.

It’s a good idea to check your balance during the week, to make sure you’re managing your budget as well as possible. It’s a skill you’ll use later in life, and a good habit to get into.

Can I opt-out of Meal Plan later in the year?

No. You’ll sign an accommodation contract that includes Meal Plan, and under the terms and conditions these cannot be separated. That means a student would be unable to stay in the same accommodation.

Can I lend my Meal Plan card to a friend?

No. Your Meal Plan card is your University ID, which contains a digital image and is for the user only. Students are advised to keep their University card with them at all times.

Meal Plan is not transferable between students.

What happens if I run out of money?

If you have financial concerns at any time during the year, please don’t struggle alone. There are plenty of sources of help available.

My University ID card is lost or has been stolen. What do I do?

Ownership and control of your student ID card is your responsibility. As it has cash value for Meal Plan users it is not transferrable to other parties and must be presented for every transaction.

Meal plan is operated on a No Card, No credit basis, across all outlets of the university. The till operator cannot process meal plan without the student’s personal card to swipe through the till.

If you should lose your card, your card has been stolen, or you suspect that your card is no longer working, you will need to follow the procedures below:

During Office Hours

  • Report the lost or non-working card, in person on the first day, to the Student Hub (Ground Floor, Aston Webb Building)
  • The student hub team will endeavour to rectify the issue – please note that meal plan credit will not be issued.

Out of Office Hours

  • Report the lost or non-working card, in person on the first day, to the Catering Duty Manager at the HUB on the Vale. (They can be contacted via Reception at the HUB).
  • The Catering Duty Manager will organise for a provision of meals to be manually charged against the remaining balance on your meal plan, until the Student Hub is next open. Please note that they will not be able to issue any credit, or refunds for purchases made by cash.
  • In the event that funds have expired students will need to pay by another means.
  • When the Student Hub is next open, you must follow the procedure as detailed under “During Office Hours” above.

Please remember:  ID cards are a source of electronic funds. Please keep them safe at all times.

I have a suggestion to improve Meal Plan. What do I do?

The catering team welcome comments, feedback and suggestions regarding Meal Plan, and all catering and retail facilities on the main campus and the Hub. With this in mind we have the following mechanisms in place:

  • Focus Groups
    These are established at the start of each academic year and run for the duration of your contract period. The groups meet once a term. If students are interested in joining a focus group, they can contact the Operations Manager (Hub).
  • Customer Surveys
    We carry out customer surveys on a regular basis throughout the academic year. These will be advertised around the Hub at various times, so please keep an eye out for them.
  • Feedback Forms 
    These are available for you to complete throughout the academic year and are located at the tills.
  • One to One Sessions 
    Staff may join you whilst you are eating your meal to ask you for your comments on the menus, quality of food and service and any other comments or suggestions you may have.

We welcome your feedback. If you have any thoughts or suggestions about our Meal Plan service on campus or at The Vale village, please contact The Hub Catering Operations Manager, Church Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3SX.

If students are not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint to The Operations Manager (Hub), they should complete a Student Accommodation Complaint Form. These are available at the Hub Reception or at Living.

In the unlikely event of an error on a University ID Card, students should visit the Student Hub on main campus, or talk to the Catering Operations Manager based on The Vale.